Offroading Subarus

Where we modify and drive flat fours

Electronic distributor swap for EA63 and EA71 vehicles

Written by Caboobaroo, from USRM

I have done a conversion from points or older electronic distributor to a newer electronic distributor for EA71 vehicles. It was very easy to do because the hardest thing to do is the distributor timing. Anyways, you will need 2 parts to do the conversion. First, you will need a distributor from an ’83-newer EA81 vehicle. Second is the coil and bracket to match it since you will be eliminating a couple things from the points distributor which are bolted to the bracket for the coil.

I find it very easy to start off with the engine on TDC. Search for tips on how to get TDC in your vehicle. Next, remove the distributor cap from the original distributor but do NOT remove any plugwires yet. Figure out which plugwire is going to the #1 cylinder and the rotor, if on TDC, should be pointing to it. Now you can start removing the plugwires but do them one at a time. Transfer them over to the EA81 distributor cap one at a time. Mark on the original distributor before removing where the rotor is pointing. Now unbolt the original distributor with a 10mm wrench. Next, drop the new distributor into place, making sure it lines up with the #1 plugwire on the cap. Now compare the the mark you made on the original distributor in relation to the rotor on the new distributor. If it’s not lining up the same, remove the new distributor and try it again, making sure to rotate the rotor in the corresponding direction. Once you get it lined up, bolt the distributor into place and install the distributor cap. Now comes the coil. Remove the wires going to it making sure you mark them either “Positive” or “Negative”. Now remove the coil with the bracket and it should also have a small part bolted to it looking like a small box. It’ll be white in color and be directly bolted to the top of the bracket. This part is no longer needed since it helped control the points distributor. Bolt the new coil into place and connect the wires. Remember! There are two wires on the new distributor that have to get connected to the coil as well and put those in their corresponding spots. Before you start it up, make sure you have a timing light handy so you can retime the vehicle. Also make sure all of your connections are tight on the coil. Start it up, time it and be on your way!

The main reason for the conversion is to help aid the fuel mileage and it helps increase spark as well from what I have discovered. Like I said, I’ve done this to a couple of gen 1’s now and it has worked pretty nice. My ’78 Brat was getting 30mpg easily and that was driving with my lead foot! Go ahead, give it a shot


I bought my first Subaru back in 2005, it was a 89 Brumby, flair red. I lifted it, fitted Kumho 27″ MT’s. After a while I swapped the dual carb EA81 it had with an EJ22 bolted on a custom gearbox which used EJ D/R casing, EA82 5sp low range and an RX centre locking diff. Once I sold the Brumby I got a 83 Leone. Converted it to 4WD, put the Kumho’s on it, added a 5sp and drove it like I stole it. I then upgraded to a 99 Outback. It was hail damaged so I repaired it myself. I fitted it out with some storage and a mattress. I now have a 87 Brumby that I’ve resprayed with two pack urethane in Waratah Red. I am planning to fit an EJ with PT gearbox and a little bit of lift. It’s another project in progress.

Phizinza – who has written posts on Offroading Subarus.

December 28th, 2008 by Phizinza
Posted in Modifications